The recruitment and use of children as soldiers is one of the United Nations Security Council’s ‘six grave violations’ against children in times of war, as well as one of the most significant consequences of armed conflict in terms of children’s wellbeing.
On 30 November, Save the Children launched its new report Stop the War on Children: A crisis of recruitment. The report is based on a new mapping of children at risk of being recruited or used in armed conflict conducted at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
Our findings are quite alarming: We find that, in 2020, approximately 337 million children (more than 1 in 8) were living in a conflict zone in which one or more actors recruited children. We also find a worrisome upward trend. Our estimates suggest that the risk of recruitment has steadily increased over the past 30 years, with the highest recorded number of children at risk in 2020.